Buttimer welcomes inclusion 47 Cork schools in Summer Works Scheme

20 March 2014

  • Forty seven Cork schools included in the Department of Education Summer Works Scheme 2014.
  • Scheme which includes 386 projects nationally and will benefit almost 100,000 students.

I am pleased to welcome that seven schools in Cork South Central will get to carry out either mechanical or electrical work this coming summer.  The schools approved for the scheme include four primary and three post primary schools.  In total more than 2,600 students in Cork South Central will return to school in September 2014 with improved facilities as a result of this scheme.

In Douglas St Columba’s National School with facility for deaf children will now be able to undertake mechanical works.  St John’s Girls National School in Carrigaline will now be able to carry out electrical works.  In the city both Greenmount and St Mary’s of the Isle have been approved for works under the scheme.

At secondary level Coláiste Chríost Rí has been included and so has St Peter’s Community School in Passage West.  The other school that will benefit is Coláiste Daibhéid on South Terrace.

The Summer Works Scheme is important for many schools as it helps them carry out much needed maintenance and repairs.  I welcome the inclusion of forty seven Cork Schools in the 2014 scheme, this will benefit almost 12,000 students across the county.

Posted under Carrigaline, Cork, Cork City, Douglas, Education, National Work, South Central, South East

Buttimer encourages Councils to apply for funding to renovate vacant houses

12 March 2014

  • €15 million in funding being made available to renovate local authority houses.

I am delighted by the announcement of Minister O’Sullivan this week and am greatly encouraged, to see that renewed importance is being applied to social housing with an aim to developing a sustained level of living standards for all people.  Given the scale of vacant local authority homes, particularly in the city, it is vital that Cork City Council and Cork County Council apply for this funding before the deadline of March 28 so that Cork can access its fair share of the money available.

Addressing the social housing problem has always been a main priority of this Government, and this is now being demonstrated. Today’s announcement of €15 million in funding will bring over 500 vacant properties into use.

This is part of a €68 million fund, which will also see the approximately 500 new homes built over the next two years, also giving a well needed boost to the construction sector within the country and getting people back to work. We need now for the local authorities to make sure they avail of this funding in order to ensure this much needed assistance is given to the most vulnerable in our society and are given the help they need.

Both Cork local authorities should submit detailed proposals that highlight the full extent of vacant properties.  This funding is to benefit the many people on the housing list and will ensure that some of the housing stock is not left unnecessarily vacant.  The Minister hopes to allocate these monies as soon as possible and timely applications by local authorities will assist in this process.

Posted under Carrigaline, Cork, Cork City, Douglas, Environment, National Work

Long term flood prevention must be prioritised for Cork – Buttimer

Thursday, February 20th 2014

  • Long term flood prevention plan to protect Cork must be prioritised.
  • Commitment of funding for the project by Minister of State at the OPW, Brian Hayes TD.

In the last few weeks, Cork has again been devastated by flooding, with many businesses and homes in the heart of our city badly affected.  Regrettably, the reaction to the 2009 floods in Cork did not prioritise a long term plan to protect our city.  While criticism of the length of time it is taking to implement a flood defence scheme is legitimate, it is also important to understand that the flood situation in Cork is not straightforward.  Progressing a scheme for the city involves complex and detailed preparations to ensure that the best possible long term solution is found.

The engagement of Minister Hayes is finally bringing about progress.  He said that up to €100 million will be made available to carry out flood protection work for Cork.  I welcome that announcement.  He also stated that a possible starting date for the three-year project will be in 2015.  In the meantime, a forum between the OPW, city council and local businesses is being set up to explore interim measures that can help to alleviate the problem.  It is a pity that it will take three years to get this done but I welcome the Minister of State’s initiative and his commitment to the project.

Since the widespread floods of 2009, we have not yet seen the protection of Cork city being prioritised.  We accept that the city was built on a marsh but today we have a duty of care to protect homeowners, families and city centre businesses.  Small businesses are the lifeblood of Cork’s local economy, unfortunately these have been the hardest hit by the floods.  Since 2009 flooding in Cork has cost an estimated €100 million, but the city remains exposed.  Businesses remain at risk and homes remain vulnerable.

It is no wonder people become frustrated and disenchanted with politics and bureaucracy when, five years after the flood in 2009, we are only now getting to the end of the process.  The President of Cork Chamber of Commerce, Ms Gillian Keating, voiced the frustration of many businesses on local radio.  She spoke about the lack of action and the frustration of business people.  I do not blame business people for speaking out.  The protection of the country’s second city must be prioritised.  No economy can thrive when its business centre is subject to persistent and regular flooding.  The people of Cork need the remedial works to be prioritised and they demand it.  They must finally be given some hope that a long-term solution will be delivered, not promised.

While the development of the scheme must be prioritised and fast-tracked where possible, there must also be an immediate focus on interim measures.  The local forum involving the OPW must play a central role in delivering adequate interim protection.  This body must get to work as soon as possible and without delay to provide ongoing assistance to those most at risk in Cork city, whether in Blackpool, Douglas or Togher, and, in particular, in the city centre.  Let us expedite the situation so that we can end uncertainty and take away the fear people experience when they see a flood warning for Cork.

Posted under Cork, Cork City, Development, Douglas, Economic, Floods, National Work